You know you’re into clothes when you pray for bad weather. After a four-year drought here in California, we’re finally getting some real rainfall this season. I had a chance to break out my Belstaff Roadmaster this past weekend, and was reminded of why I bought this thing in the first place. Built with a waxed cotton shell and a belt for easy closure, this jacket makes for a great casual raincoat – even if it was originally intended for tougher purposes.
Belstaff’s Roadmaster is actually an adaptation of the company’s Trialmaster, which was originally introduced in the 1940s. The Trialmaster’s name comes from the Scottish Six Days Trial, a grueling event where competitors covered as much as 100 miles a day on road and off-road routes for six days. For those harsh weather and riding conditions, Belstaff built them a coat that would be windproof, waterproof, and resistant to tearing. Although it wasn’t the first jacket of its kind (Barbour’s International came out about ten years prior), it’s certainly become one of the most iconic.
Traditionally, the main difference between the Roadmaster and Trialmaster has been the fit – with the Roadmaster being the slimmer of the two. This year, however, Belstaff has reintroduced the Trialmaster in a slimmer body and adjusted pocket design. Gone is the map pocket, and in is a new straight pocket with side zip-entry. They’ve also gotten rid of the belt for those who find it too fussy. Instead, an elasticized draw cord has been put at the waist in order to give the jacket shape.
Belstaff’s prices have gone through the roof in recent years, but if you don’t mind how much they charge, their jackets are a great alternative to Barbour. They’re a bit more rugged and motorsport inspired, but just as good at keeping the elements off your back. Pair one with an old pair of boots, some jeans, and a white henley or thick flannel shirt, even if the only thing you ride out are storms.